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India's GSAT-11 to be launched by Arianespace's Ariane 5 mission early on Wednesday

Arianespace's Ariane 5 mission, designated as Flight VA 246, in the launch zone at its spaceport in French Guiana with two international satellite payloads: India’s GSAT-11 and Korea's GEO-KOMPSAT-2A. Photo: Arianespace.
Arianespace's Ariane 5 mission, designated as Flight VA 246, in the launch zone at its spaceport in French Guiana with two international satellite payloads: India’s GSAT-11 and Korea's GEO-KOMPSAT-2A. Photo: Arianespace.
India's largest and heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11, with a lift-off mass of 5,854.5 kg, is set to be launched into orbit by Arianespace's Ariane 5 mission from its spaceport at French Guiana in  the wee hours of Wednesday.
 
"The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s 10th mission of 2018 is now in the launch zone at French Guiana, positioning it for liftoff tomorrow with two international satellite payloads: India’s GSAT-11 and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for Korea," a press release from Arianespace said.
 
It said the heavy-lift launcher was transferred on Monday from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, enabling the final countdown to begin for its late afternoon (local time) departure on December 4 during a 1-hour, 16-minute launch window that opens at 5:37 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
 
The launch window between 5.37 p.m. and 6.53 p.m. in French Guiana translates to between 2.07 a.m. and 3.23 a.m. IST on Wednesday.
 
Riding in the upper payload position for the 33-minute mission to geostationary transfer orbit will be GSAT-11, built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is configured on ISRO's next-generation I-6K satellite bus. It will be positioned at 74 deg. East after deployment by Ariane 5, providing communications services in Ku- and Ka-bands in both forward and return links.
 
Designated Flight VA246, the mission is the 246th launch of an Ariane family vehicle and Arianespace’s sixth in 2018 using the workhorse Ariane 5. The heavyweight launcher will deliver a lift performance of more than 10,200 kg., which includes the mass of its two satellite passengers as well as the Ariane 5’s dual-payload deployment system and integration hardware, the release said.
 
Since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has placed in orbit 21 Indian satellites and signed 24 launch contracts with ISRO. It has also won almost 90% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts opened to non-Indian launch vehicles.
 
"With two additional satellites remaining in Arianespace’s order book, the launch of GSAT-11 is to be another vivid demonstration of the strong bond uniting Europe and India in space cooperation," the release added.
 
Top ISRO officials are in Kourou for the launch of GSAT-11, which will be part of the space agency's new family of high-throughput satellites (HTS) that will, among other things, enable the provision of high-speed broadband services to new areas.
 
With its new system architecture and cutting-edge technology elements, GSAT-11 will generate a capacity of more than 12 Gbps for users from a single platform.
 
It will join GSAT-29 and GSAT-19, which were launched in November 2014 and June, 2017, respectively.
 
GSAT-11 was originally scheduled for launch by Arianespace's Flight VA243, scheduled for May 25 from Kourou, but it was delayed after ISRO decided in late April to carry out additional technical checks.
 
The satellite had already reached Kourou at the end of March for the flight and was transported back to India for the additional checks.
 
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(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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